6 Reasons To Forgive Even When You Don’t Want To

Vishnu | Vishnusvirtues

son hugs fatherI sat on the curb at 2 a.m, in front of my grandparent’s home.

I had never spent the night on the streets of Singapore (or any country really) and having just arrived at midnight, I didn’t want to startle my sleeping grandparents –or have them ring the cops!

I hadn’t told anyone I’d be visiting.

I flung my luggage in front of the iron gates and made myself comfortable on the curb to wait for dawn. I did what anyone sitting on a dimly-lit street at 2 a.m. would do in Singapore: I pulled out my laptop and started reading my friend Galen Pearl’s ebook on forgiveness.

The journey to this curb had been one of the longest journeys of my life. And I’m not just talking about the 20-hour flight from California.

See, I hadn’t spoken to my parents for a little more than 2 years.

During one of the most difficult periods in my life – the most difficult, in fact – my Indian parents aggravated a painful experience by actively intruding in and opposing my separation from my ex-wife.

What about our family name,” they pleaded. “What will others say about us?

You have no choice – you must stay together,” they commanded uniformly.

Being in a place of extreme vulnerability, pain and hurt, I couldn’t handle the added pressure and demands of my parents.

So, we stopped talking. I did, anyway. For 2 years so I could complete the divorce and move on with my life.

I resented them for being unsupportive and choosing to see me in pain rather than alleviate painful circumstances.

This trip back to Singapore was the first step on my journey to forgiveness. I hopped on a flight I didn’t want to take. Struggled to book my ticket, to hop on the plane and sit through a 20+ hour grueling journey. Survived transit lounges,  immigration and customs to confront 2 people who had hurt me so much.

And here I was now contemplating how I’d forgive the two people that compounded the pain of my separation and laterdivorce. The parents who opted for self-interest and family name before their son’s interest.

As I sat on the curb and waited for dawn, I re-read the chapters on forgiveness in the book, 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There).

I needed all the advice and inspiration I could get before I would have to confront my parents in the next couple of days and find a way to forgive them.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smeedes

I re-read the forgiveness chapters for the fourth time. Galen recognized forgiveness was a challenge to most, but provided a convincing argument in several chapters of why to forgive someone.

I needed every reason in the book to allow forgiveness into my heart.

Wanting to forgive was why I had gotten on the plane and why I was now sitting on the curb in the middle of a mildly humid Singaporean night.

“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” Suzanne Somers

Here are 6 reasons that moved me to forgiveness during that trip, per Galen’s book, and why you should forgive the people you’re holding grudges against in your life.

1)      When victims of tragedy and crimes can forgive, why can’t you? Galen gives an example of the most horrific crime committed on a community of people. For example, the Amish schoolhouse shooting by Charles Robert in 2006 which killed 5 young Amish schoolchildren.

When the community was willing to rely on their faith to forgive an unfathomable crime, are you not able to let go of small or large trespasses against you?

All major religious faiths and traditions encourage forgiveness, one of the most important principles after, ‘love your neighbor’.  Religious traditions encourage forgiveness for the most horrific, painful and destructive acts by others.

Why aren’t you able to forgive the person who didn’t send you a ‘thank you’ card?

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